Does driving slower save gas? The answer may surprise you. Keep reading to find out what a savvy consumer like you can do to save money in today’s environment.
1. How to Find the Best Gas Prices
Driving an extra 15 miles to save 5 cents on a gallon of gas doesn’t make sense. Instead, download a phone app like GasBuddy, Gas Guru or something similar so you’ll know if there is any discounted fuel near you. You may be a few miles from home or on a trip, but it never hurts to check for some low-cost gas nearby.
2. Why Speed Matters
It’s simply a matter of aerodynamics! Excessive speed causes air resistance your vehicle has to fight against – plus your tires cause a drag on the pavement. Your car uses more energy (gas) when it has to work against these conditions. If you go too slow, you are just spending more time with the engine running and using gas. Steady speeds and smooth starts and stops is your best bet.
3. Stop Using Your Car like a Storage Closet
Excess weight causes drag (see above). Drag causes your car to use more energy to get from point A to point B. Keeping a first-aid kit, a sweater or light coat, wet wipes, jumper cables and a flashlight are really the only items that should live in your car fulltime.
4. Keep Your Tires Inflated
Let’s go over drag one more time. It’s not good for your car’s fuel consumption. When tires are low, you’ll lose fuel efficiency. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy says that for every 1-psi drop in pressure, your gas mileage will lower by .4 percent.
5. Try to Combine Trips
You probably do this anyway – most people don’t want to spend all day in the car. When you are trying to save on your gas money, combining trips just makes sense. Think ahead to what your weekly chores and trips will be and see if you can strategize the ones that are close together on the same day.
6. Avoid Idling
With today’s vehicles, it’s no longer necessary to “warm up the car” for 15 minutes. Likewise, if you are going to be sitting in a drive-through, turn it off. It won’t only save you some gas bucks, it will help the environment too. You can also help your car’s performance and gas usage with fuel additives. In some cases, such as when your vehicle has a diesel engine, these can also help the environment.
Whether to work or to your kid’s sports or band practice, there are numerous ways you – and your fellow travelers – can combine forces to save everyone some money at the pumps. Additionally, you can take advantage of park-n-rides – places where you can leave your vehicle and travel to work via bus or train.
8. Think Electric or Hybrid
In the market for a new (or new-to-you) vehicle? Don’t forget to check out the electric or hybrid vehicles for sale. They may be a little more expensive, but most states offer rebates – and nothing tops the sense of freedom from gas hikes!
Remember, driving within the speed limits, utilizing smooth stops and starts and employing your cruise control when on the highway are all good ways to keep your fuel costs at their lowest.